Massa takes first steps after accident

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The Independent Online

Formula One driver Felipe Massa took his first steps today since a high-speed crash at the weekend left him near death.

Ferrari said Massa's condition continues to improve.

"Felipe speaks, can sit upright and was even able to take his first steps," the Italian team said in a statement. "From the clinical and radiological point of view, everything is going extremely well."

The 28-year-old Brazilian was hit in the helmet by a loose part from another car and crashed into a protective tire barrier at 190 kilometers per hour (120 mph) during qualifying Saturday at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ferrari said Massa would remain at the Budapest hospital for the next few days.

Massa's father, Luiz Antonio, said his son still doesn't remember anything about the accident.

"If it continues like this, maybe Thursday Felipe can be transferred to the hospital in Paris, where he would continue his recovery until he can return home," Luiz Antonio told Brazil's on Tuesday.

"But we still have to obey what the doctors say. The most important now is to know that his life is not at risk."

Today, Brazilian driver and friend Popo Bueno said Massa had asked about his chances of racing in Valencia in three weeks, the next race on the F1 calendar.

"Friends and relatives want to see him well, at home, healthy. But the driver always wants to return to racing soon," Bueno said. "But only the doctors can know if he will be able to return this year or the next."

Ferrari also said company chairman Luca di Montezemolo would visit Massa today.